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“A Part of Us Gone Away With Her”: Bodybuilding World Joins Flex Wheeler in Mourning the Saddening Loss of 56-Year-Old Legend

Published 02/09/2023, 7:00 AM EST

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Although death is inevitable, seeing someone close pass away is always heartbreaking. Bodybuilder Flex Wheeler is currently undergoing such sad times, as one of his bodybuilding friends Tonya Knight, lost her battle with cancer.

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In his recent Instagram post, Wheeler paid an emotional tribute to the 1991 Ms. International winner. The bodybuilding community is deeply saddened by the terrible news and has conveyed their condolences via Wheeler’s post.

Flex Wheeler notes a heartfelt message


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Tonya Knight was one of the legendary bodybuilders from the 80s and 90s eras. While bodybuilding was a heavily male-dominated sport back then, Knight was one of the female bodybuilders who revolutionized the sport for women. Bodybuilder Flex Wheeler, who once trained in the same gym as Knight, showed his respect for the passed bodybuilder in his Instagram post.

In his post, Wheeler wrote,: “@tonyaknightpro RIP and my deepest condolences to your family… It was such and honor to train in the same gym as you back in the 90s To hear about your passing hurts my soul.”


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Although Knight had various accomplishments to her name, the younger generation is not much aware of the athlete. Hence, the ‘Sultan of Symmetry’ also urged his fans to learn about Knight, maybe as a way of tribute to her.

He concluded by writing, “Everyone, pls look her up. She was a game changer for women’s bodybuilding Pls join me in celebrating her amazing accomplishments. LIFE IS TO SHORT. Love, laugh and forgive…” Like Wheeler, the whole bodybuilding community is shocked by Knight’s death and conveyed their feelings on the Instagram post.

The bodybuilding world grieves Tonya Knight

Many fans were absolutely disheartened after hearing the news and wrote:

A part of us gone away with her, she was a model and exemple for many people in this sport, she brings beauty with muscles, God bless you Tonya 😥🙏🙏

“Terrible news. My most sincere condolences on the passing of this legend.”

“😢😢 no. So sorry for her family’s loss and everyone she inspired.”

“WOW she was only 57 What a loss to the world and our spot. RIP Tonya!!!”

And some remembered the legendary bodybuilder’s contribution to the sport:

“Oh no Tonya. Rest In Peace young lady. A true champion in everway”

“Il never forget my Tonya knight poster i got from a bodybuilding mag back in the late 80’s 🙏💔😪”

“Remember her very well so sad… RIP”

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Bodybuilder Lee Haney also joined in the sorrowful tribute. He posted a picture of Knight and conveyed his sympathy:

“Sorry to hear about the passing of our dear Tonya. She made muscles a thing of Beauty 🙏🏽❤️”


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Current bodybuilding star Milos Sarcev also joined in the tribute and wrote in the comments of the post:

“😔😞 Sincere condolences to her family. RIP Tonya 🙏🏻❤️”


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While Knight, unfortunately, passed away at an early age, her contribution to the sport remains immortal. Due to her legacy and achievements, women bodybuilders have found their way into bodybuilding.

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Written by:

Soumya Bontra


One take at a time

Soumya Bontra is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has been working as a sports journalist and writer for the past two years. Soumya has a Bachelor’s in Mass Media.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa